In the country, a significant number of service stations were still in lack of gasoline or diesel, almost one in four, according to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Only three of the seven French refineries are not affected by the strike, but to cope, the government has reopened the valves of blocked sites with the help of requisitions from employees, the last one again targeting the TotalEnergies site in Feyzin in the Rhône Wednesday morning, according to Eric Sellini, CGT coordinator.
Tuesday evening, at the end of a day of strikes and demonstrations throughout the country, the CGT proposed the “renewal of the movement” of the refineries initiated on September 27 until Wednesday at midday, when new general meetings.
As expected, the strikers voted on Wednesday morning to renew the Gonfreville refinery in Normandy, CGT Total Normandy secretary general Alexis Antonioli told AFP.
The morning renewal also concerned the TotalEnergies refineries and depots in La Mède, Feyzin (the depot, the refinery being shut down for technical reasons) and Flandres (depot), confirmed Eric Sellini.
According to Olivier Mateu, CGT departmental secretary of Bouches du Rhône, “nothing is decided” for the future. “It is the employees who will decide,” insists Eric Sellini.
Many elected members of the union must participate Wednesday morning by videoconference in a national meeting where each section must decide and a decision be taken concerning a call for a general strike, said Mr. Mateu.
“Beyond the refiners and the 14,000 employees of TotalEnergies, we also carry the voice of those who suffer from the fact that wages do not keep up with inflation and who see winter coming with promises of higher fuel prices. ‘energy or food’, Mr Sellini argued.
– Branch agreement –
In total, 107,000 people also demonstrated Tuesday in France to demand better wages according to the Ministry of the Interior, “nearly 300,000” according to the CGT. During the previous day of the same type, the CGT had counted fewer participants (250,000), but the Interior more (118,500).
In the rest of the energy sector, the CGT has signed a branch agreement with FO and the CFDT on increases in the gas and electricity industries (IEG), we learned on Tuesday from concordant sources. This constitutes a first step for the opening of wage negotiations in good and due form in the 157 companies concerned, including EDF and Engie.
At TotalEnergies, which falls under the chemical sector within professional organizations, the CGT did not sign the salary agreement concluded Friday between the management and the two majority unions, the CFE-CGC and the CFDT.
The agreement provides for a general increase of 5% in salaries, accompanied by individual increases and an exceptional bonus of between 3,000 and 6,000 euros. The CGT demanded 10% to compensate for inflation and take advantage of the exceptional income earned by the group in 2021.